A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Available: Now! June 11, 2013
Source: Random House Audio for Review
On Day 56 of the
pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving
her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received
antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky.
Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes
their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their
grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical
survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and
destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from
Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem.
Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of
life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated
place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to
A Matter of Days is a count of the days in which Nadia and her brother Rabbit (aka Robert) become the cockroach. Survive everything and be determined. The Blustar virus, a hemorrhagic virus that in the end leaves blue star like bruises, has hit the world like wildfire and there are not many known survivors. It is their hope that they can make it to their uncle who has forewarned them about the virus, and live in peace during the aftermath. While their mother died, Nadia and Rabbit have managed to stay alive and now must make their way from their home in Seattle to their grandfather’s compound in West Virginia.
During their trip they encounter everything one might think of during the end of days: rebellious groups of marauders, death and decay, injured and resourceful animals, buildings demolished and looted, bridges exploded because towns believed it would stop the spread, and much more. Their goal is to make it to their grandfathers, but will he be alive when they arrive?
I recently moved into an apartment in the middle of nowhere, dirt road to get to it, pitch black at night because there is no ambient light nearby… and this book was all the more interesting because of it. I have to say that my first thought while listening to the audiobook was not about the characters or the virus itself, but of me and my pets and how I would be so, totally, screwed if this happened (I have no skills and I think I should have more food in the house). Anywho, the book had a lot of impact and with all the Doomsday Preppers shows and things happening on TV lately and hit series like Walking Dead, I think that this new book is a great addition to the end-of-days genre classification.
The plot was remarkably believable, no zombies or paranormal elements, just siblings using their survival knowledge to move through their trip as best they could. The suspense is in their encounters with other survivors, it is always a toss up as to whether they will be welcoming or crazies. So throughout the story I found myself holding my breath and homing for the best each time… sadly that did not happen.
The characters, Nadia, Rabbit, and Zach are strong. Told from Nadia’s point of view the reader can relate to her feelings about the situation and the amount of responsibility that she now must uphold with the death of both her parents. Her character is a teen and she adapts like one, she doesn’t try to overdo her parental placement and tries to stay juvenile as her surroundings will allow her.
As for the virus, there was a great author’s note included in the audiobook after the reading, the author goes on to explain her reasoning behind her story and the kill rate of the virus. I appreciated this. At first I thought there could be a virus this destructive, there have been (ex. black plague), but this is extreme for now right? The author thinks so too, but it allowed her to love out her “what if?” scenario and I think that she held on to that image well throughout the plot.
I really enjoyed this post-crisis tale and think that others will too. It is a bit graphic at times, but there is a lot of death, so duh!
Amber Kizer can be found on her website at AmberKizer.com, she is also known for the Fenestra series and writes Young Adult and Romance.
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